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Matthew 27:24-25 meaning

Pilate Washes His Hands: Pilate's Sixth Attempt to Release Jesus: Pilate comes to the conclusion that he cannot win and that a riot is about to break out. But he is very troubled about crucifying Jesus, whom he firmly believes to be an innocent Man. He tries to publicly absolve himself of any wrong doing by washing his hands in water and declaring himself to be innocent. For their part, the Jews are quick to reassure the governor that Jesus's blood will not be on Pilate, but on them and their children. This event is part of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."

There are no apparent parallel gospel accounts of this event. Luke 23:23, however, seems to describe a more generic description of it. This event looks to have occurred near the very end of Jesus's civil trial. It is also possible that this exchange took place at the same time as John 19:6-7.

Throughout the third phase of Jesus's civil trial, Pilate had been attempting to release Jesus multiple times and in various ways. Pilate believed and had repeatedly declared Jesus to be innocent (Luke 23:14, 23:22, John 19:4). And yet the chief priests and elders were relentless in their demands for the Roman governor to crucify Him (Matthew 27:23). 

Pilate had made no less than five efforts to release Jesus. 

Pilate's first attempt to release Jesus was when he offered to penalize Him (by Roman flogging) before he let Him go (Luke 23:16). This was an extraordinary (and unlawful) gesture by Pilate. The crowd apparently rejected it. 

Pilate's second attempt to release Jesus was when he offered to use his customary "Passover Pardon" (Mark 15:9, John 18:39). But instead of accepting this offer, the crowds (with coaxing from the elders and priests—Matthew 27:20, Mark 15:11) demanded that Pilate release the notorious prisoner Barabbas instead (Luke 15:18, John 18:40). When Pilate asked what they wanted Him to do with Jesus (Matthew 27:22a, Mark 15:12), they cried out "Crucify, crucify Him!" (Luke 23:21—see also Matthew 27:22b, Mark 15:13).

Pilate's third attempt to release Jesus was based on him fulfilling his promise to have the innocent Man scourged as a consolation to the Jews (Luke 23:22, John 19:1-5). But again, the Jews shouted, "Crucify, crucify" (John 19:6), before they asserted the new charge of blasphemy (John 19:7).

Pilate's fourth attempt to release Jesus is mentioned by John (John 19:12). But John does not appear to detail precisely how Pilate made these efforts. He only relays that his efforts were rejected and/or ignored by the Jews, which put the governor in a conundrum.

Pilate's fifth attempt to release Jesus was an effort to force the Jews to either admit Jesus was their King in order to have Him crucified (something they were loath to admit) or admit that He was not their King (and He would be released) (John 19:14). The Jews tacitly accepted Pilate's description of Jesus as "Your King" (John 19:14) even as they blasphemously declared that they had "no King but Caesar' (John 19:15).

Now the third and final phase of Jesus's civil trial was drawing to an end.

The three phases of Jesus's civil trial were:

  1. Jesus's Arraignment before Pilate
    (Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:1-7, John 18:28-38)
  2. Jesus's Audience before Herod Antipas
    (Luke 23:8-12)
  3. Pilate's Judgment
    (Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, John 18:38 - 19:16)

The third phase of Jesus's civil trial was at the Praetorium (John 18:28, 19:9). The Praetorium was Herod's palace located just inside the modern city wall near the Jaffa Gate. This phase began while it was still morning, most likely sometime around 8:00 a.m. (Jesus is on the cross at 9:00 a.m.—Mark 15:24). The Jewish calendar shows that the date was probably Nisan 15—the first day of Unleavened Bread. By Roman reckoning the day was a Friday.

To learn more about the timing and sequencing of these events, see The Bible Says' "Timeline: Jesus's Final 24 Hours."

John's detailed account of the final moments of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial
Matthew's Gospel appears to summarize the conclusion of this final phase in the previous verse when he wrote: "But they kept shouting all the more, saying, 'Crucify Him!'" (Matthew 27:23b). 

John's Gospel details the final moments of this phase.

Following the crowd's demand that Pilate release Barabbas and crucify Jesus (Matthew 27:21-22, Mark 15:11-13, Luke 23:18-21, John 18:39-40), the Roman governor had Jesus scourged (Luke 23:16, John 19:1). Then he presented the bloodied Jesus to the crowd—"Behold the Man!" (John 19:4-5). 

While Pilate's statement "Behold the Man" failed to invoke the desired pity among the crowds; it did (unbeknownst to Pilate) allude to profound insights into the person of Christ—including His identity as the God-Man, the Second Adam, and the Lamb of God. 

(To learn more about these allusions, see The Bible Says Commentary for John 19:4-5).

Pilate seems to have hoped that the chief priests would accept the governor's flogging of an innocent Man as a trade-off for Jesus's release. It could be that Pilate's intent was to brutalize Jesus to the point of pity. But when they saw Jesus disfigured by the flogging and ridiculously dressed as a king, they cried out "Crucify, crucify!" (John 19:6).

Exasperated, Pilate told them "No," saying, "Take Him yourselves and crucify Him" (John 19:6b). Then the Jews changed the charges from the civil crime of insurrection (Luke 23:2) to the religious crime of blasphemy (John 19:7). Becoming afraid, Pilate summoned Jesus for an investigatory interview for the second time (John 19:9). 

Pilate asked Jesus about His origins—but He did not answer until Pilate tried to leverage his authority as the Roman governor over Jesus (John 19:10)" "Jesus answered, 'You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin'" (John 19:11).

To learn more about Pilate's second interview with Jesus, see The Bible Says commentary for John 19:8-11.

Pilate then sought to release Jesus again, but the Jews put the Roman governor in a diabolical bind. It was a political "checkmate" move. They told him "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar" (John 19:12b).

With this framing, the governor had to either illegally ignore Roman law and shamefully cave to the Jews' demands—or—risk being labeled a political enemy of the emperor. Pilate was not in the best standing with Rome, which likely explains his appointment to govern Judea on the edge of the Empire. The Jews manifestly asserted that only God was their King. That was part of their rationale as to why they should not have to pay taxes to Rome. 

Now the Jewish leaders sink to the lowest possible point of duplicity. They have already broken their precious laws in an attempt to frame Jesus as a breaker of the Jewish law. They have asked for the pardon of an actual insurrectionist (Barabbas) while accusing Jesus of insurrection against Rome. Now, by saying "We have no king but Caesar," they are openly committing blasphemy while falsely accusing Jesus of blasphemy. 

The governor then stepped up to "the Pavement"—a porch overlooking the crowd where his judgment seat was positioned (John 19:13). (The Pavement can still be visited at the time this commentary is being written (2024) along the outer wall of Herod the Great's Palace—which is probably where the Praetorium was located). From the Pavement, Pilate was able to address the crowd and signal the trial was coming to a close. 

When Pilate presented Jesus to the Jews he did so by giving them a counter dilemma. He told the Jews, "Behold your King!" (John 19:14). If the Jews rejected Pilate's label of Jesus as their King, then they would admit and agree with Pilate that Jesus was innocent as charged. But to maintain their position that Jesus deserved death, they had to accept Pilate's framing—that Jesus was "your King!"—which they despised. 

Rather than overtly confess what they hated (that Jesus was their King) or lose their objective (that Jesus be crucified), the Jews silently accepted Pilate's account of Jesus as "your King" (John 19:14) before they reframed the argument:

"Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!"
(John 19:15a)

By not correcting Pilate, they tacitly accepted Pilate's assessment that Jesus was "your King" (John 19:14). This was the only time the Jews accepted Jesus as their King—but it was done only as a means to crucify Him. 

The governor pressed them further to force them to admit that Jesus was their King to crucify Him or to deny that He was their King and accept that He should be released. 

"Shall I crucify your King?"
(John 19:15b)

Rather than admitting what was loathsome to them or accepting Jesus's acquittal, the chief priests decided to reframe their response to Pilate's question and commit blasphemy instead,

"The chief priests answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.'"
(John 19:15c)

From a Jewish perspective, only God is king. Therefore, in order to kill Jesus, the chief priests essentially declared "We have no God but Caesar." This is the case twice-over, given that the Roman Emperor claimed to be a "god" and to be revered as such. When the chief priests declared: "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15), they shouted their blasphemy—which ironically was the same crime they used to falsely condemn Jesus to death (Matthew 26:65, Mark 14:64). 

Their level of hypocrisy was flagrant and bold—even according to their standards. 

But in this moment, the chief priests preferred to commit blasphemy against God rather than accept Jesus's acquittal (by denying that he was their King). And they preferred to blaspheme God rather than admit, even hypocritically, that Jesus was their King, all so Pilate would crucify Him.

One of the eventual Caesars would prove to be a terrible king and a demanding "god." In 70 A.D., the Emperor ordered the annihilation of Judea, the siege of the city of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the temple. 

When the Jews said, "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15), Pilate was cornered, and caved to their demands. 

To learn more about this exchange between Pilate and the Jews and their blasphemous statement, see The Bible Says commentary for John 19:12-15.

It is likely at this moment, that Matthew resumes his narrative of the third phase's final moments.

Pilate's Guilt
At this point, Matthew writes that Pilate realized two things: 

When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting (v 24a).

The first thing the provincial governor saw was that he was going to lose this political fight. The phrase he was accomplishing nothing refers to Pilate's concentrated efforts to declare Jesus innocent and have Him released, while appeasing the Jewish leaders. None of his many efforts to accomplish this end were successful.

This sets up a sort of metaphor for each person. It is natural for each of us to desire both to follow God and gain His approval, but also have approval from the world. But this is not possible. Jesus made clear that we must choose one or the other (Matthew 6:24). Pilate's choice is the same choice each of us must make: Who will we attempt to please with our actions? Will we seek the truth, follow Jesus, and accept condemnation and rejection from the world? If we do this, our reward is life—we are connected to the good things of God, and His promises. 

Our other choice is to prioritize the things of the world, and pursue its promises (1 John 2:15-17). This leads to a temporary pleasure that separates us from the rewards God promises His people. Pilate now must choose. 

The crowd, led by the chief priests and elders, would accept nothing less than Jesus's death (Matthew 27:20). There was nothing Pilate could do, short of crucifying Jesus, that would appease them. The governor actually could have arrested the Jews for creating a riot. Their hypocrisy is complete—now they are both blasphemers and insurrectionists. 

However, the blasphemous but politically shrewd move that the Jewish leaders made when saying they had no king but Caesar put Pilate into a corner; now if he opposed the Jews and arrested them for insurrection he would have to answer to his political masters in Rome. To this point, Pilate had practiced much brutality while "keeping the peace." Now all he had to do to keep the peace was to kill a single man to placate the Jewish leaders. This would be nothing to Rome. Rome had no regard for the lives of non-Romans. To do what was right would likely cost Pilate his earthly position and power. 

The Roman governor saw something which he had exercised much violence to prevent: a riot was starting. Pilate's fears seemed to be materializing. Any riot would reflect badly upon Pilate and his ability to maintain order (an important Roman value). A riot that occurred in Jerusalem during Passover when an estimated million or more Jews swelled the city with himself at the center of it would almost certainly lead to his removal, if not his imprisonment. Pilate was fearful that this was starting to happen. 

Pilate could brutally put the riot down, but then would have to imprison and perhaps kill the Jewish leaders, who were now pledging allegiance to Caesar in exchange for the life of one man. The political math was straightforward. As governor, Pilate had hastily ordered the deaths of many people before and he would do so again. 

In Jesus's trial, Pilate had tried to follow the Roman law again and again by releasing an innocent Man through various means—some of which included breaking lesser laws to do so (such as flogging an innocent Man—instead of crucifying Him). But to avoid the riot and the adverse political consequences to himself that came with it, Pilate sacrificed Jesus to the crowd's deadly wishes. He chose the world. 

But something seemed to personally weigh upon Pilate's conscience. As governor, Pilate had hastily ordered the deaths of many people before, and he would do so again. But for some reason, Pilate was uncharacteristically uneasy about being responsible for Jesus's execution. This may have been because of his wife's dream (Matthew 27:19) or from something else within his psyche. Historically this was not something Pilate was prone to do. He was quick, even for a Roman, to violently respond to trouble with the sword. For instance, during his tenure as the Judean governor, Pilate:

  • mixed the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices (Luke 13:1
  • defied Jewish laws and threatened death to those who did not comply (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. XVIII.3.1)
  • set traps to kill Jews who opposed the building of an aqueduct (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. XVIII:3.2) 
  • slaughtered Samaritan worshippers (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. XVIII.4.1)

The fact that Pilate was so reluctant to order Jesus's crucifixion, and the many efforts he made in trying to avoid doing so, demonstrates how disturbed he was at giving this order. It also demonstrates that he was morally wrong (and therefore morally responsible) for giving this unjust order. 

Pilate desperately wanted to release Jesus, and had even decided to release Him (Acts 3:13b), but he was too afraid and wanted to please the crowds (Mark 15:15).

When Pilate saw his inability to win the political fight and the riot starting to surge, he did a remarkable act before unjustly handing Jesus over for crucifixion. 

He took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd (v 24b).

Pilate took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd perhaps as a sixth and final appeal to release Jesus. In any event, it was certainly a futile attempt to absolve himself of any moral guilt or culpability in Jesus's death. 

If it was an appeal to the crowd to reconsider, it failed. If it was an act of self-absolution, it also failed. An attempt of self-absolution is still trying to have it both ways. But it is an illusion.

This is because mere water does not wash away our sins. Only the blood of Jesus could do that. In other words, the only thing that could have cleansed Pilate of this Man's blood was the blood of that same Man whom he was crucifying (Romans 3:23-25, 5:9, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:22). 

Pilate could not absolve himself of Jesus's death by washing his hands any more than Adam and Eve could cover their sin and shame with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7).

Jesus held Pilate morally responsible for His death; but He held the chief priests and elders who accused Him, and His disciple, Judas, who betrayed Him, even more responsible (John 19:11b). 

Pilate went even further and explained his innocence to the crowd either just before, during, or just after he washed his hands

"I am innocent of this Man's blood" (v 24c).

The fact that Pilate was saying this indicates that he likely repeated his absolution: "I am innocent of this Man's blood," several times to the crowd to emphasize that he was blameless in Jesus's death. 

Again, this self-rationalization is ineffective. He could have been innocent of Jesus's blood by acquitting Him. 

We as humans cannot pardon ourselves of our sin. Only God and the Son of Man can forgive sins (Mark 2:6-10). We do not get to be our own judge. God is our judge. We do not get to declare ourselves innocent. Jesus, the Man who God gave Pilate authority over (John 19:10b-11a), is the one who either justifies or condemns (Matthew 25:31-33, Romans 8:33-34). We receive justification in the sight of God simply through believing (John 3:14-15). 

For believers, this can be a great comfort because nothing can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:35-39). But this does not mean believers are unaccountable for their choices and behavior. Christ will judge every believer and the works they do (1 Corinthians 3:11-15, 2 Corinthians 5:9)—whether they were good works of service to others, love done in faith (gold, silver, precious stones, 1 Corinthians 3:12a) or works done for our own vanity (wood, hay, and straw, 1 Corinthians 3:12b). 

We receive new birth as a gift. But there are great consequences to our choices; there is great reward to gain or lose in the quality of our works in this life (1 Corinthians 3:13-15a). Each of us chooses each day through our actions either life (connection with God's good design) or death (separation from God's good design). How we, as believers live matters a great deal—but, thanks be to God's promise and the gift of the blood of Jesus, His Son (John 3:16), because no matter how bad or empty a believer's works are, he cannot lose his gift of new birth and the eternal life it brings (1 Corinthians 3:15b). 

To learn more about the Gift of Eternal Life and its rewards, see The Bible Says article "Eternal Life: Receiving the Gift vs Inheriting the Prize."

After Pilate tried to absolve himself of the evil he was about to do—I am innocent of this Man's blood—he tried to shift all of the moral blame and responsibility to the crowd in front of him, 

"See to that yourselves" (v 24d).

He wanted them to see two things: his innocence; and their own moral culpability in Jesus's death.

We have already discussed how Pilate was not innocent of Jesus's death, despite how he or they saw things. We have also seen how the religious leaders and the crowd to whom Pilate was saying these things were also guilty. Just as Adam could not shift the blame of his sin to Eve or God (Genesis 3:12), neither could Pilate transfer his blame to the crowd when he took water and washed his hands in front of them. There was an abundance of guilt for both the governor who condemned Jesus and the crowd who insisted that He be crucified. 

The Jews' Self-Condemnation
After Pilate washed his hands and was saying these things, the crowd reassured Pilate anyway, lest he back out of the evil thing he was about to do. 

And all the people said, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" (v 25).

For their part, the entire crowd before Pilate was willing to assume all the guilt of murdering Jesus. They said: "His blood shall be on us!" to soothe Pilate and his moral squeamishness. In the process, they accepted the blood-guilt of murdering the rejected Messiah. 

Ironically, Jesus was dying and giving His blood to pardon the crowds' enthusiastically-assumed-guilt when they called for His crucifixion, and told Pilate, "His blood shall be upon us!

Matthew writes that this oath was stated by all the people, which included the chief priests (Sadducees); the elders (Pharisees); the scribes (religious lawyers); the officers (Temple Guards); and the crowds of ordinary Jews present at this trial. They were willing to accept responsibility before God for their demand that Jesus be crucified. 

The crowd was so certain that they were just and right in calling for Jesus to be crucified, or perhaps they hated Him so much, or both, that they added an extra measure to their guilt of His blood upon them. The extra measure they added was that His blood shall also be upon their children. Their desire to kill Jesus was so strong that they were not only willing to stake their own lives upon this deed, they were willing to transfer the guilt to their children

There are five perspectives to discuss in regard to the Jew's statement: "His blood shall be on us and on our children!"

1. The statement: "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" has been twisted throughout history as an evil justification to mistreat and persecute Jews. 

This is a travesty. It is lamentable and often resulted in tragic evil. The Bible never condones, much less endorses, the persecution or abuse of Israel. The Jews were and still are God's chosen people. He still has a plan and will redeem all of Israel (Romans 11:26). Instead of persecuting Jews, as the organized church has regrettably done for much of its history, the church should minister to Israel and seek its blessing and prosperity.

2. The Jews' statement: "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" is a direct fulfillment of Jesus's last public teachings.

In His "Parable of the Land Owner" (Matthew 21:33-41), Jesus predicted how the chief priests and Pharisees would kill Him, the Land Owner's Son, in an attempt to steal the vineyard (His kingdom) for themselves. When Jesus asked His eventual-murderers' what the Land Owner (God) would do to them for killing His Son (Jesus, the Messiah), they responded: "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end" (Matthew 21:41a). With their own mouths, Jesus's murderers confessed what should happen to them if they acted like the wicked vine-growers in the parable.

Jesus then affirmed their response when He said:

"Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."
(Matthew 21:43-44)

Matthew reports that it was then that the religious leaders understood that Jesus was speaking about them (Matthew 23:45). As we will soon see, the Messiah's blood will fall heavy upon these religious leaders like a meteor that will obliterate their power and scatter them like dust. 

Moreover, the Jews' statement, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" is a direct fulfillment of Jesus's final public teaching in Matthew when He chastised the Pharisees about their murderous custom of killing God's prophets (Matthew 23:29-36). Jesus, concludes His condemnation of the religious leaders' habit of murdering God's prophets with a prophetic promise: "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:36).

Jesus's blood would indeed be upon them.

3. With their cry to Pilate: "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" this generation of Israelites condemned themselves and their children to suffer the terrible consequences for murdering the Messiah who came to save them. 

They and their children would indeed pay with their own blood.

These consequences would be Rome's annihilation of their nation, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the demotion and burning of the Temple, which would take place within 40 years of this event. 

Jesus predicted several times the coming judgement on the Jewish people and Jerusalem for rejecting Him:

  1. Jesus warned "whomever [on whom the stone of the Messiah] falls, it will scatter him like dust" (Matthew 21:44)
  2. Jesus's warning to Jerusalem: "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (Matthew 23:38)
  3. Jesus's prediction of the Temple's destruction (Matthew 24:1-2). 

Jesus will warn of this again on His way to be crucified, when He tells the women who were lamenting Him: 

"Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.'"
(Luke 23:28-30)

At the time this commentary is written (2024), Titus's Arch in Rome still graphically commemorates Rome's victory over Judea. 


According to the ancient historian, Josephus, who was a witness to Jerusalem's fall, when the temple was destroyed by fire, he writes that one would have thought that the temple mount itself was ablaze because it was "full of fire on every part of it," but "the blood was larger in quantity than the fire" (Josephus. "Wars of the Jews". VI.271) Because the siege took place during the Passover, Josephus estimated that 1.1 million Jews perished and another 97 thousand were taken captive (Josephus. "Wars of the Jews". VI.420). 

Jesus's blood was indeed upon them and their children.

4. It is in direct reference to the Jews' self-condemnation "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" that the apostle Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, exhorts the Jews gathered in Jerusalem to repent of so that they would "be saved from this perverse generation!" (Acts 2:40). 

Many of the Jews who heard Peter preach about Jesus as the Messiah whom God had raised from the dead became convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. They realized in that moment that as a nation (perhaps they themselves) had rejected and contributed to the murder of the Messiah. As they realized this, they "were pierced to the heart". They asked the apostles, "What shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). 

Peter's response was for them to repent of their former opinion of Jesus as an usurper, and to see Him for who He was in reality—the Messiah and Son of God—and to publicly identify with Him by being baptized in His name (Acts 2:38). 

Peter reassured them that in addition to receiving the Holy Spirit, that God's promise has not been nullified by their evil murder of Jesus. God's "promise [still] is for you and your children" (Acts 2:38). It was available and would be applied to whomever of them repented and were baptized in Jesus's name (Acts 2:39). Peter "kept on exhorting them to be saved from this perverse generation" (Acts 2:40) who murdered the Messiah and called for the blame of His blood to fall on us and on our children.

Remarkably, Jesus's death and resurrection mercifully and graciously provided a path for the Jews who said this to be saved from their self-condemnation.

5. Notwithstanding, Israel's God continued to be a God with unbounded mercy (Deuteronomy 7:9). Incredibly, God still offered the "perverse generation" full remission of sin if they would repent. In his sermon in Acts 3 after Jesus had resurrected and ascended, and the Holy Spirit had fallen upon the apostles, Peter asserted to his Jewish audience:

"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time." (Acts 3:19)

Even though the Jews had sinned so greatly, God still gave them a full generation of time to repent. Peter's inference here is that if the Jews would have repented, Jesus would have returned and set up the Messianic kingdom at that time. This shows God's grace, that He answered Jesus's prayer on the cross to forgive them (Luke 23:34). The opportunity for the "perverse generation" to be forgiven was offered, but not received. 

Ironically, the Jews' rejection of this amazing offer was an enormous blessing for the world. If the "perverse generation" had repented, it is likely that none of us would have been born. The poverty of their rejection proved to be riches to the world. However, God promises that when the fullness of the Gentiles is reached, all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-26). 

With the people reassuring Pilate that they would assume all the guilt and that he would have none, the Governor was ready to relent and cave to their demands (Luke 23:23-24).

Pilate's Offer vs Moses's Offer
Many generations earlier, Moses prophetically presented the following choice to the generation of Israelites who were to enter the Promised Land:

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse."
(Deuteronomy 30:19a)

Moses exhorted Israel:

"So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
(Deuteronomy 20:19b-20)

Now, here was Pilate who offered the promised generation their Messiah, their King, who was "the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25), and "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). But they did not obey Jesus's voice. They chose to kill Him. 

Consequently, they and their descendants would not live in the land for long. His blood would soon be on them and their children as they swore to Pilate. They will choose death.

Death is separation. Physical death is separation of the spirit from the body. The death Moses described included separation of Israel from the blessings of their covenant with God. God promised that if they would live according to His commands to be self-governing—loving their neighbor as themselves, seeking justice for all, and living in the truth—then their society would have great blessing. This is largely a natural consequence, as any society based on such morals will naturally thrive. But God also promised divine blessings.

On the other hand, God's covenant with Israel held that if Israel chose to follow the pagan ways of exploitation and manipulation, they would be separated from God's (good) design. Their society would naturally descend into violence and poverty. But God would also intervene with divine discipline, and exile them from the land (Deuteronomy 28:41, 28:64). 

In Pilate's day, Israel's rejection separated them from the "times of refreshing" that their Messiah would have brought them (Acts 3:19). They were separated from the immense benefit of living in the kingdom of God, submitting to God's rule and serving one another in love. They instead chose the illusion of power, believing in their own control. This illusion was shattered about forty years later when Rome razed and plundered Jerusalem. 

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